A YOUNG boy is lucky to be alive after plunging from a bridge and severely injuring himself at a popular New Forest beauty spot.

Anthony McCluskie was bleeding heavily when his father dragged him screaming from the Lymington River.

After jumping from Brockenhurst Bridge outside of Brockenhurst the ten-year-old smashed into an underwater ledge.

The impact “cut to the bone” of his right ankle and left leg causing “major” blood loss.

New Forest Post:

Family and bystanders rushed to help Anthony, wrapping him in blankets to stop any further blood loss and prevent him from going into shock.

After treatment from an air ambulance and ambulance, he was taken to Southampton General Hospital where doctors performed emergency surgery.

The youngster has had two operations and will need to have multiple skin-grafts after the incident which happened on Sunday afternoon.

Anthony, from Preston, had been visiting the New Forest with his family and was due to go home that day.

Like many other children, he had been playing in the river and enjoying his summer holidays.

According to his step-mother, Dotty Clark, he may not be able to walk for months and will have to miss school.

His parents are now calling on the council to put up warning signs to stop children jumping into the river.

New Forest Post:

Dotty said: “Anthony is lucky he has not lost his leg. He will have to have skin grafts. He and his cousin had been jumping off the bridge like lots of other children. We heard him screaming and his dad pulled him from the water.

"He went into shock and was shaking. He lost a lot of blood and will have to spend a long time in hospital. He has horrible injuries but it could have been his life. If it had been his other side it would have cut a main artery. We want the council to put up signs warning people of the dangers of jumping in the river so it doesn’t happen again.

"We are grateful to everyone who helped. It has restored our faith in humanity. The care at the hospital has been amazing.”

New Forest Post:

Nick Jordan, 50, who witnessed the incident, said: "To witness what happened as a parent. As a human being, was horrible. Children were jumping off the bridge all day. All of a sudden we heard a scream.

"I realised he was struggling in the water. His dad dragged him out and we wrapped him in blankets. I phoned the ambulance immediately. As a bystander it was horrendous. We first noticed his foot injury. He had a massive wound on his leg. I wondered whether he was going to lose his leg. I have never seen anything like it. The cut went all the way down to the bone. He is lucky to be alive."

An Environment Agency spokesperson added: "We understand that people may want to paddle in rivers, but we do not encourage full swimming. Open water often contains hazards, particularly in and around structures such as locks, weirs and bridges."

The Echo has contacted New Forest District Council for comment.